Climate Change, Water Security, and Women

A Study on Water Boiling in South Tarawa, Kiribati

Authored by: Alexandra Conroy

Categories: Global Public Health, Human Rights
Sub-Categories: Climate and Environment, Economic Participation, Human Development
Country: Kiribati
Region: East Asia and the Pacific
Year: 2021
Citation: Conroy, Alexandra. "Climate Change, Water Security, and Women: A Study on Water Boiling in South Tarawa, Kiribati." Asian Development Bank. August 2021.

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Executive Summary

Kiribati is one of the most remote and least developed countries in the world. The capital, South Tarawa, is dependent on groundwater, which is seriously threatened by climate change-induced inundation and prolonged drought. The ongoing South Tarawa Water Supply Project is building two desalination plants, rehabilitating and expanding the water supply network, and building a solar photovoltaic system. These investments will provide the population with safe and climate-resilient water supplies.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) supported the government to access climate financing from the Green Climate Fund for the project. This publication presents the results of a household survey conducted in relation to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) funding proposal. The survey measured the type and amount of fuel used by households to boil water and provided an estimate of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that could be avoided by the delivery of clean water through the project. The publication also details further notable survey findings including economic costs and benefits, and gender, health, and environmental considerations surrounding water boiling practices. The implications for the design of future projects are discussed in this report.

ADB works with developing member country governments and utilities in the Pacific region to improve access to essential services including water supply and electricity. This publication has links to four of the seven operational priorities (OPs) under ADB’s Strategy 2030: (i) addressing remaining poverty and reducing inequalities (OP 1); (ii) accelerating progress in gender equality (OP 2); (iii) tackling climate change, building climate and disaster resilience, and enhancing environmental sustainability (OP 3); and (iv) making cities livable (OP 4). It also links to the Sustainable Development Goals on water, energy access, climate change, and gender.